The news of three top health officials, all members of the administration's coronavirus task force, self-quarantining in some form after one of Trump's valets and another West Wing aide tested positive is jarring alongside Trump's desire to move on from the pandemic and to concentrate on the staggering economic dimension of the crisis.
The latest developments pose an essential question: If people around Trump are not protected from the virus in the most highly secured workplace in the country, how can it be safe for anyone else to go back to work?
It's not, and Trump knows it. He's worried that aides contracting the virus will undercut his message that the outbreak is fading, according to a person who spoke to him. He's asked why his valets weren't ordered to wear masks before this week, according to the person, even though that's the example he himself has set. And Trump has told people he doesn't want to be near anyone who hasn't been tested, according to the person who spoke to the President, CNN's Kevin Liptak reported.
But most Americans -- whom Trump hopes will contribute to opening the economy that is so crucial for his reelection campaign -- will not have access to the aggressive repeated testing and contact tracing now in place in the White House. Trump has argued that testing should primarily be up to governors to sort out. He has also repeatedly downplayed the importance of testing even though experts say that it is critical to establishing the penetration of the virus and to preventing new waves of infection as normal life begins to resume.
The discovery of the virus in Trump's inner sanctum comes at a moment when the White House has all but stopped offering medical and scientific information to the public in televised public briefings — furthering the impression that it wants to pivot away from the crisis, even when infections are rising in many states that are opening.
In the middle of the worst public health crisis for 100 years, officials like Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci have become far less visible. The coronavirus task force briefings have been replaced by media trolling sessions by new White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
However, Trump and so-far-unidentified senior administration officials are expected to hold a press briefing on testing on Monday afternoon.
Read the full report here.